The objective of the Government's initiatives to counter discrimination is a society free from discrimination. This area includes measures to prevent discrimination on grounds of sex, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity or expression, and age. Other issues linked to this area are measures to combat racism, homophobia and other, similar forms of intolerance.
Government initiatives in this area are directed at:
- reducing discrimination and promoting equal rights in society, irrespective of sex, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity or expression, and age;
- ensuring that there is a strong awareness of the prevalence and extent of discrimination in society, and knowledge of the mechanisms behind discrimination;
- ensuring that employers have knowledge of discrimination legislation and that they are working to prevent discrimination; and
- creating the conditions for work to combat racism and similar forms of intolerance.
A prerequisite for the work to combat discrimination is an effective and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation. On 1 January 2009 a new Discrimination Act entered into force (SFS 2008:567). A new agency was also established, the Equality Ombudsman, which is to monitor compliance with the Act. In addition, the National Board for Youth Affairs is managing three different grant systems, aimed at supporting activities to combat discrimination, racism, homophobia and similar forms of intolerance.
The Swedish anti-discrimination legislation is based on several international legal instruments in the area to which Sweden has acceded, among them:
- The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- The UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- The Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment of persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (Directive 2000/43/EC)
- The Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (Directive 2000/78/EC).